New EMT pathway tackles student and community needs

New EMT pathway tackles student and community needs

(Ohio) This spring, more than a dozen Toledo, high school students will graduate poised to earn an emergency medical technician credential under a new career education pathway that can lead to a job with local fire departments.

Through a recently announced partnership between Toledo Public Schools, Owens Community College and the city’s police and fire divisions, students will be able to enter an in-demand field immediately upon graduating while also filling a community need for medical professionals.

“Really, across the nation, and in Northwest Ohio as well, the number of runs that firefighters go on are largely for medical emergencies–it’s something like 80 percent of runs across the country–and that requires more medics and EMTs,” explained Richard Ottensman, chair of fire services at Owens, in an interview.

Ottensman said that Northwestern Ohio fire departments are facing the same need for additional EMTs and paramedics due to the number of medical emergencies they respond to.

The adoption of college and career ready standards in many states has giving new prominence to career technical training as an option for all students–especially as employers in many fields have expressed concern over a lacking labor force as older workers begin to retire. More and more, districts are working with local community colleges to develop programs that reflect some of the most in-demand fields within the state or region.

In Maine, for instance, fire officials have sought out to develop high school-level firefighting programs to train and recruit young people for short staffed stations. In Texas, where a need for primary care doctors has emerged, students will have the opportunity to take courses that will prepare them for various health care professions. And throughout the country, states with large farming communities have promoted pathways focused on sustainable agriculture and food systems.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the EMT field is projected to grow 24 percent though 2024, with an increase in the middle-aged and elderly population likely leading to an increase in age-related health emergencies.

In Toledo, between 15 and 20 students who have expressed an interest in public safety after graduation will become the first cohort to participate in the new career pathway. Beginning in January, students will learn how to assess emergency situations, transport patients and save lives through 150 hours minimum of lecture, lab and clinical practice.

Additionally, students will receive hands-on experience in ProMedica’s clinical sites where they can interview for possible employment at ProMedica Toledo Hospital once they complete their certification.

Students’ tuition and fees will be covered through the district’s College Credit Plus program.

Under Ohio’s new graduation requirements, in addition to completing a minimum of 20 credits in specific subjects, students must accomplish one of the following: earn remediation-free scores in mathematics and English language arts on either the ACT or SAT; earn 18 out of 35 points on seven end-of-course state tests with minimum score requirements on math, English, social studies and science tests; or earn an industry-recognized credential.

Meghan Schmidbauer, assistant dean of admissions at Owens Community College, said the new EMT pathway will provide high school students with yet another option in the growing list of state approved career technical education pathways.

“Knowing the workforce needs here in Northwest Ohio, and what the students could potentially complete given their age–considering certain careers like law enforcement have age requirements–this EMT program fits the need and fulfills some of the opportunities available for students,” Schmidbauer said. “I think this partnership goes to show that colleges are looking at what the future is and how we can be a good community partner to ensure our students are able to secure a well-paying, in-demand job.”

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